Federal Judge John Tunheim, former chair of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), headlined an expert faculty this month in the nation’s capital advocating for compliance with the JFK Assassination Records Act’s deadline of release of President Kennedy’s death records.

John F. Kennedy side profile

The law, approved unanimously by Congress in 1992, mandates the release by Oct. 26 of all U.S. government records related to President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Experts at the March 16 forum at the National Press Club organized by Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) estimated that some 3,600 documents remain secret, largely because of objections, obstruction or confusion by various agencies.

Judge John Tunheim at CAPA Forum at National Press Club (Noel St. John photo)Judge Tunheim, now chief federal judge for Minnesota, keynoted a news conference at the forum’s beginning. He outlined the challenges his presidentially appointed commission overcame in reviewing and releasing some four million pages of assassination-related material in the 1990s. See: Transcript of Judge John Tunheim’s Remarks.

The complete conference aside from the opening welcome by this editor is available on a video by independent film maker Randolph Benson, producer/director also The Searchers and a speaker at the forum.

Part I (1:31:44 mins.) is here. That segment showed Forum and CAPA Chairman Dr. Cyril H. Wecht introducing Tunheim, as shown below.

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Part II of Series: Did Trump Labor Pick Protect Trump, Rich Rapists, Tax Cheats, Crooked Bankers?

The Trump administration should not be able to hide evidence of abusive practices and cover-up by President Trump's nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Labor just because


the administration is also facing an unprecedented FBI probe into its allegedly corrupt complicity with Russian operatives to win last November's elections.

A hold stopping the nomination of Alexander Acosta is necessary unless the senators obtain enough evidence to clear Acosta of allegations stemming from his previous career. This includes the time when he was the Bush administration U.S. attorney in Miami and implemented many dubious if not outrageous prosecutorial decisions.

Acosta faces a confirmation hearing Wednesday. Senators must place a "hold" on his nomination and not just subject him to questions or get distracted by the other extraordinary events in the nation's capital, such as the House Intelligence Committee hearings or Supreme Court nomination hearing.

A hold would create conditions for senators to obtain enough evidence to clear Acosta of allegations stemming from his previous career. Acosta was one of the 84 or so U.S. attorneys allowed to keep their jobs during the 2006 U.S. attorney firing scandal when nine of his colleagues were fired for failing to base their law enforcement judgments on political goals of the White House.

Acosta's dubious decisions include a wrist-slap plea deal for the billionaire pervert Jeffrey Epstein, who was alleged in a federal lawsuit last year to have inflicted multiple rapes upon a 13-year-old in 1994 along with his friend Donald Trump.

The 2008 plea deal's most notorious aspect was that it forbade authorities from investigating others in Epstein's circle, who included Trump, former President Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew of the United Kingdom, plus those who helped implement Epstein's depradations on many underage girls.

A demand for a senate "hold" is our opinion at the Justice Integrity Project. This is a rare editorial by us based on our reporting condensed in last week's column Did Trump Labor Pick Protect Trump, Rich Rapists, Tax Cheats, Crooked Bankers? Do We Find Out Wednesday? 

That column and this editorial are part of a multipart series that will continue to examine Acosta's career.

But the cascade of important news — including revelations before the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI is investigating Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election — threaten to push Acosta's confirmation out of the spotlight where it deserves to be.

Patty MurrayThat's especially true given the widespread nature of Acosta's alleged failings and the president's own potential complicity as a direct beneficiary of Acosta's failure to pursue Epstein's sex ring, which a lawsuit filed last year claimed involved his friend and neighbor Trump in raping and threatening a 13-year-old in 1994. The lawsuit filed by a "Jane Doe," later identified as a Katie Johnson, was dropped last November after the plaintiff's attorney said anonymous death threats intimidated the plaintiffs.

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington State (shown in an official photo), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has promised to grill Acosta on the Epstein prosecution. Acosta-led federal prosecutors agreed with their state counterparts in Florida to let the well-connected billionaire Epstein plead to misdemeanor charges in 2008 even though police had accummulated evidence of his enticement of scores of high school and junior high school girls for sex at his West Palm Beach mansion alone.

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President Trump nominated as labor secretary last month a former federal prosecutor suspected of covering up multiple scandals, including the alleged rape of underage girls in 1994 by wealthy pervert Jeffrey Epstein and Trump, who was Epstein’s friend and neighbor.


Trump picked former Bush administration prosecutor R. Alexander Acosta Feb. 16 to lead the Labor Department despite his multiple legal controversies involving sex predators, corrupt bankers and billionaire tax cheats. Their crimes largely escaped prosecution from Acosta and his law enforcement colleagues.

Most dramatic was Acosta’s confidential plea agreement in 2008 not to prosecute Epstein for operating what police described as massive sex trafficking ring that allegedly involved Trump in the rape of a 13-year-old in 1994, according to a recent lawsuit withdrawn last year.

In a virtually unprecedented concession to a defendant and his suspected accomplices, Acosta’s deal with Epstein forbade authorities from investigating his associates. These included Epstein's Palm Beach neighbor Trump, who was also a fellow wealthy socialite on Manhattan’s East Side.

Acosta's hands-off federal posture allowed state authorities in the joint federal-state case to arrange a sweetheart deal with the billionaire (shown in a mugshot) to serve 13 months of night incarceration. This special treatment was meted out despite massive police evidence that Epstein sexually abused scores of underage girls recruited from Palm Beach area junior high and high schools.

Jeffrey EpsteinCounty records show that the sentence was so light that Epstein was visited 67 times in his vacant wing of the minimum security Palm Beach County Stockade by Nadia Marcinkova. She was an assistant who police say helped wrangle teen masseuses for Epstein during his crime spree, and joined in what the New York Post described in 2009 as the “sordid sex play.”

More recently, a lawsuit filed last year in California and New York federal courts by a “Jane Doe” (later identified as a Katie Johnson), accused Trump and Epstein of raping her in New York City in 1994 when she was a 13-year-old runaway and aspiring model.

Trump allegedly then threatened her with death if she reported her multiple rapes or Trump’s threat that she would end up like “Maria,” another underage girl, age 12, who was said to have disappeared suddenly from their sex and “party” scene.

The suit was dropped last November because of alleged threats from unknown sources, according to attorney and legal commentator Lisa Bloom, who had authored Why The New Child Rape Case Filed Against Donald Trump Should Not Be Ignored.

Andrew PuzderAlthough the suit has a tangled history and was withdrawn in November Florida court recorts contain a far more credible and therefore important trove of evidence, which has important parallels in banking, political and other cases involving Acosta.

Trump representatives have dismissed the New York "Jane Doe" suit as baseless. Acosta and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer failed to respond to Justice Integrity Project requests for comment about Acosta.

Trump named Acosta as his nominee for labor secretary protecting the nation's workers soon after businessman Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination. Puzder (shown in a file photo) failed to win sufficient Senate support.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has scheduled a confirmation hearing for Acosta on March 22, postponed from March 15.

Epstein's problems arose publicly in 2005 after a Palm Beach mother claimed that Epstein paid $300 to her 14-year old daughter for sex. Palm Beach police developed leads from there. They suggested that Epstein and his accomplices had recruited scores of underage girls from local schools for massages often leading to sexual encounters.

But there’s always a difference of opinion in such matters, particularly when friends are involved.

“I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,'' Trump told New York Magazine in 2002. "He's a lot of fun to be with," continued Trump (shown in a graphic by ABananaPeeled.com, licensed under DCMA). "It is even said Trumpenstein monster (Image by ABananaPeeled.com licensed under DMCA)that he likes beautiful women as much as I do and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life."

Acosta’s backers can be expected to steer his confirmation as far away from Epstein and Trump as possible, and focus instead on the nominee’s career highlights and Hispanic background.

The Senate’s clubby traditions lend themselves to that kind of emphasis on the positive. So do the incentives of many special interest  advocacy organizations that focus their endorsements on ethnic identity, partisan politics and other narrow goals adapted to the go-along, get-along culture of Washington.

Part of that culture, more generally, is the reluctance of many organizations to dig deep into sexual and financial topics, especially when the majority party pushes a nomination for fast approval. Few take the time for expert witnesses, victims, and hard questions, as seems likely for Acosta Wednesday morning at his so-far fast-track nomination.

Even so, it may be that the particulars of Acosta's background could pique the interest of the public — if the public ever got a hint of it.

Just the Facts

This column begins a multi-part series that documents the horrific crimes and mind-boggling mysteries that Acosta and his colleagues helped cover-up while advancing their own careers under the slogan of "public service."

One path leads from Epstein to Trump to "Maria," alleged in the withdrawn "Jane Doe" lawsuit to have been  a 12-year-old sex victim who may have been murdered.

Investigative reporter Wayne Madsen (shown in a file photo), is a former Navy intelligence officer, NSA analyst and the author of 15 books along with large numbers of newspaper op-ed columns and guest appearances on radio shows. He is also one of the few reporters who apply "shoe leather" reporting and document study to, among other topics, naming the high-level names of the perpetrators suppressed sex scandals. He has been especially active in publishing reports about presidents, senators, and other top officials of both parties, including judges and prosecutors.

Madsen has his critics from left, right and mainstream, but also unique successes in this field. The latter include his exclusive three-part series in 2006 exposing the then-powerful GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert as a gay pedophile despite Hastert's devout Christian, anti-gay and "family values" public image.

Authorties filed charges two years ago against Hastert for murky reasons, later revealed to have involved his payment of millions of dollars in hush money in fear of revelation of his crimes and his hidden lifestyle already reported by Madsen. The former speaker, the longest-serving in Republican history, is now serving a long prison term. 

Madsen's columns in February about Trump on the investigative subscription service "The Wayne Madsen Report" (WMR) drew on the investigator's long study of the Epstein case and the problems that arise when blackmailers target top officials, often at vast costs to taxpayers or America's other interests, such as honest arms acquistion and foreign policy.

The reporter published his main column on Trump, Trump's Jane, Tiffany, and Joan Doe problem, on Feb. 8 even before Acosta's nomination. Madsen promptly followed up that nomination Feb. 17 with such other columns as Labor pick Acosta part of Epstein-Trump underage sex crime cover-up.

Madsen is one of the few watchdogs who dare pose a so-far unanswered question for Trump, Acosta and those U.S. senators who this week begin to weigh the Acosta nomination. The question?

"Where's Maria?"

Our series beginning today helps chart what we know of that mystery. But that search necessarily involves you and those others who might dare to demand answers without the niceties and obstacles of official Washington.

Some of the Senate's most famous players — including Republican champions of family values, Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Democrats Tim Kaine of Virginia and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — will be put to the test on the nomination beginning March 22.

How will they respond? How will their constituents respond?

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Sunshine Week logo 2017

Federal judge John Tunheim, former chair of a congressionally appointed board to review secret documents, headlines a unique press conference March 16 about this year's deadline for disclosure of records about President Kennedy's 1963 assassination.

The JFK Records Act, approved unanimously by Congress in 1992, mandates the release by Oct. 26 of all U.S. government records related to the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Under Tunheim’s leadership, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) reviewed and released some four million pages of assassination-related material in the 1990s.

Johnn F. Kennedy Looking UpJudge Tunheim, now the chief federal judge for Minnesota, will speak at the National Press Club about the law as a milestone in open government legislation and about its provisions that mandate the release of some 3,600 still-secret JFK documents later this year on the 25th anniversary of the law’s passage.

John Tunheim, Chief U.S. District Judge for MinnesotaTunheim (shown in an official photo at right) will address the challenge of secrecy in a democracy at the news conference, which begins a high-level forum on the topic in Washington, DC.

In a 2013 Boston Globe column, he and former ARRB deputy chair Thomas E. Samoluk wrote that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) deceived House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) investigators by not disclosing the role of deceased CIA officer George Joannides in the events of 1963.

"It really was an example of treachery,” Judge Tunheim said in an interview. “If [the CIA] fooled us on that, they may have fooled us on other things."

After the press conference leading experts in history, intelligence, law and science will discuss the relevance of the still-withheld records to the JFK assassination story and to current issues, including the credibility of officials and media outlets, as measured by polls.

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Sunshine Week logo 2017

 "JFK at 100: State of the Records"

News Conference and Forum


1 p.m., Thursday, March 16, 2017
National Press Club, Zenger Room, Washington, DC

To mark the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's birth this spring, leaders in the JFK research community are convening at the National Press Dr. Cyril WechtClub during "Sunshine Week" March 16.

The purpose is to examine the past and current importance of the National Archives' scheduled release by next October of the final batch of declassified documents further illuminating President Kennedy's 1963 assassination. Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) has organized the news conference and forum in the spirit of Sunshine Week, celebrated by journalists nationally this week.

1 p.m. Andrew Kreig, CAPA board member and journalist, Welcome & Introduction of Dr. Cyril H. Wecht,

Dr. Cyril H. Wecht (shown above left), CAPA chairman, medical professor, world-renowned forensic pathologist, and author or co-author of more than 50 books, and former Allegheny County coroner for 20 years, Introduction of keynote speaker.

1:05 p.m. Keynote With Q&A

The Hon. John R. Tunheim, Chief U.S. District Judge for Minnesota and former chair of the congressionally-created Assassination Records Review Board John Tunheim, Chief U.S. District Judge for Minnesota(ARRB) (Shown at left)

1:40 p.m. Research News: Expected Findings From New Documents, Q&A on Current Implications

  • Jefferson Morley, FOIA litigation expert on JFK issues, JFKFacts.org editor, author ("Our Man in Mexico," and others), AlterNet Washington correspondent and former Washington Post reporter
  • James H. Lesar, J.D., FOIA litigation expert and president, Assassination Archives & Research Center
  • John M. Newman, Ph.D., author ("Countdown To Darkness," "JFK and Vietnam," and "Oswald and the CIA"), former Army intelligence officer and assistant to the National Security Agency director, and history professor at James Madison University and formerly at the University of Maryland

2:25 p.m. Break  

2:30 p.m. The Cold Facts From Forensic Evidence

  • Cyril H. Wecht, J.D., M.D., forensic pathologist, medical school professor, leader or former leader multiple medical and scientific professional societies, Allegheny County coroner for 20 years
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The former government officials and other experts below are among those who have called for full release by the National Archives of still-classified records regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Sunshine Week logo 2017The National Archives' release of an estimated 3,600 still-classified documents scheduled for Oct. 26, 2017 is anticipated as the final step of a process that Congress unanimously enacted by the JFK Records Act of 1992, and implemented by the Assassinations Record Review Board (ARRB), a five-person commission chaired by John Tunheim. On Sept. 30, 1998, it made its final report, passed unanimously and with recommendations excerpted below.

Assassinations Record Review Board (ARRB) Recommendations (1998) (Excerpted):

The Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board provides not only an opportunity to detail the extraordinary breadth and depth of the John Tunheim, Chief U.S. District Judge for MinnesotaBoard's work to identify and release the records of the tragic death of President John F. Kennedy, but also to reflect on the Board's shared experience in carrying out this mission and the meaning of its efforts for the much larger challenge of secrecy and accountability in the federal government.

The Review Board was created out of the broad public frustration that the federal government was hiding important information about the Kennedy assassination by placing its records beyond the reach of its citizens. Broad disagreement with the Warren Commission findings, explosive claims in the popular movie JFK, and continued deterioration of public confidence in government led to consensus that it was time to open the files.

—    The Hon. John R. Tunheim, ARRB chairman (currently Chief U.S. District Judge, Minnesota) and the other ARRB members: Henry F. Graff, Kermit L. Hall, William L. Joyce, and Anna K. Nelson. Details

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